GPU not detected – what to do

The exciting world of PC gaming, content creation, and editing has skyrocketed in recent years. Many people have chosen to upgrade their aging computers with new graphics cards or even build their own PC from scratch. However, sometimes things don't go exactly to plan, and errors can pop up, preventing a successful upgrade or build. One of these errors relates to the graphics card or GPU, at which point, after booting up, a message states, “GPU not detected.

While error messages can be common on PCs, anything related to the GPU causes many users a lot of concern.

After all, on many PC builds, the GPU is nearly half the entire project budget. Fortunately, there are a few reasons you might receive this message, and fixing it could come down to a few essential tips. Here are a few reasons why your PC displays this error and how to fix the problem.

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GPU Installation

When you install a GPU, you must carefully insert the unit into the motherboard and align it properly, so the display ports are accessible on the back of the PC. The PCIe connects to the motherboard and allows the GPU to communicate with your system. One of the issues that sometimes arise after replacing a GPU is that it's not pushed into the motherboard PCIe slot completely. When not seated properly, the GPU isn't visible to the PC.

Luckily, an unseated GPU is an easy fix and only takes a moment to correct. If you have recently switched out your GPU and receive the error “GPU not detected,” power down your PC and unplug it so you can safely open the case. Open the case and gently push the GPU into the motherboard until the PCI Express is completely seated in the slot. Now, plug in the PC and boot up. If the issue was related to a loose GPU connection to the motherboard, reseating the GPU should resolve the issue.

Outdated Operating System

Another reason you may experience the “GPU not detected” error relates to older operating systems and incompatibly with modern hardware. For example, if you run a phased-out operating system like 7 and switch out your GPU with a cutting-edge current generation model, you might experience some issues. Older operating systems aren't compatible with modern GPUs.

Although it's inconvenient, those pop-ups alerting you to update Windows are an essential step in keeping your PC running smoothly. It's not just the operating system itself that needs regular updates, but also the drivers and BIOS. If you're running Windows 7 or before, consider updating to Windows 10, as this will likely solve the error message.

The GPU is Disabled

Once you've installed a new graphics card, your PC may not automatically enable it. In this scenario, your system boots up using the onboard graphics processer on the motherboard. Here are a few steps to take to get your new GPU up and running quickly.

First, press the Windows button and R, then type “er” into the Open field. Next, the Device Manager Window should open up listing all your PCs devices. Scroll down and look for Display Adaptors and click the “>” to drop down the list of available GPUs. You may then see an option for enabling your new GPU and should select that option then restart your PC.

Once enabled, your new GPU should be up and running, solving the issue.

Corrupted Drivers

Another issue that could cause a GPU error is drivers that suffer corruption and aren't working correctly. The GPU drivers are the that helps your graphics card communicate with the PC and are vital to performance. If the drivers are corrupt, many issues could present themselves, including a “GPU not detected” error.

Fortunately, there is a straightforward solution to corrupted drivers and one that may resolve your GPU error.

To resolve a driver issue, you must uninstall and then re-install the drivers.

You'll need to uninstall the drivers first by navigating back to the Device Manager menu. Click on the Display Adapters to see the dropdown list of available GPUs and right-click on the correct GPU. Select Uninstall device and then check the “Delete the driver software for this device” box, then Uninstall.

Now, you'll have to search for your GPU drivers online, download them and re-install them. Once re-installed, your GPU should communicate properly with the PC solving your issue. Consider regularly updating your drivers to avoid errors in the future. NVIDIA offers GEFORCE Experience for easy driver updates, and AMD has an Auto-Detect driver tool to help keep everything current.

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Tracy C.
Tracy C.

Hi! I'm Tracy and I am the owner of this little website. I build it as a resource center to troubleshoot common tech, hardware and software issues.

My mission with is to make tech less intimidating and more approachable for all. With easy-to-understand content, troubleshooting guides an how-to articles, I am committed to demystifying intricate tech problems and providing simple, easy-to-follow solutions.

Contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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